10 things the iPad totally sucks at

Apple iPad
The iPad is good, but it's not perfect...

Apple's iPad is good for many things - not least starting huge fights on the internet - but in much the same way Daleks can't climb stairs there are some things it's completely rubbish at.

From software freedom to simple expansion, here are some of the chinks in the iPad's armour.

1. Free software

That's "free" as in "free speech", of course. Apple's iron grip on its App Store means that for developers, it's Apple's way or the highway. If you don't like that idea, you might want to wait for an Android tablet, HP Slate or Microsoft's Courier.

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2. Streaming video

Yes, Apple's persuaded a few of the bigger online media firms to stream in iPad-friendly formats instead of Flash, but the reality is that outside Steve Jobs' head, most streaming video online is still in Flash format.


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3. Upgrading

The iPad isn't designed to be upgraded, so if you run out of storage space then tough luck. If you think of it as a big iPod rather than a little computer then the lack of expandability should be less annoying.

4. Saving the newspaper industry

For traditional media, the iPad simply isn't closed enough: as long as it's got mobile Safari and there are decent RSS readers such as Reeder in the App Store, the iPad will be a brilliant way to get news for nowt.


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5. Prolonged typing

We predicted this ages ago, and early reviews say we're right: if you're used to normal typing, the iPad means sore hands-o-rama unless you use a separate keyboard. The on-screen keyboard is best suited to the occasional bit of hunt-and-peck typing. If Mavis Beacon were real and dead, she'd be spinning in her grave.

6. Dirty movies

Don't be fooled by press releases promising iPad porn or the presence of a wipe-clean screen: Flash remains the filthmongers' favoured format for filthy flicks, which means it's off-limits for iPad-toting smut surfers.

7. Widescreen movies

Remember when TVs had an aspect ratio of 4:3, giving you a choice of cutting the sides off movies or zooming out so far that half your screen was black? Now you can experience the same thing all over again thanks to the iPad's cutting edge aspect ratio of, er, 4:3!

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8. Chatroulette

No Flash + no camera = no chatroulette. Which, admittedly, is probably a good thing. As is the lack of video chat, which would make you look really chinny unless you held the iPad over your head.

9. Sunny days

OK, it's not a huge problem in the UK, but the combination of a shiny screen, a backlit display and sunshine means that nice weather makes the iPad hard to read - especially compared to e-ink devices such as Amazon's Kindle or Sony's reader. Or a book.

10. Proper work

The iPad is primarily about consuming content, not creating it. Doing proper work isn't there yet: for example, Pages strips out some data from documents - such as footnotes and endnotes - can overwrite the original file when you sync back with your computer and doesn't have a word count. And expecting you to Sync with iTunes when you want to print a document is just silly.


Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.